Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have all come and gone. The question now is what retail insights and trends can we glean from what's become a frenzied time in the retail sector that started building months ago?
Some trends and insights are obvious. For example, e-commerce sales will continue to grow and increase its share of total retail sales. There's no denying more people are shopping online.
Others are surprising, such as men are more apt to brave in-store crowds. A recent Nielsen
survey found that 53 percent of men said they plan to shop in-store, compared with 50 percent of women. For Cyber Monday, 60 percent of women were going to be active online compared to 50 percent of men.
Also, millennials are posing a challenge for online retailers, as they seem to be demanding better shipping options. At some point, retailers are going to have to rationalize the logistics side of the business, whether it's free shipping,or a flat fee for same-day shipping.
Having said that, there are certain pockets of retail, such as the furniture industry and the apparel industry, where shoppers still prefer brick and mortar stores. These shoppers like to touch and feel goods. They still like to try on items. They like to sit on furniture and lie down on beds. It's safe to say brick and mortar is not going away.
For retail to thrive, here are a few points I've been saying for some time now:
I still think the lackluster/mixed housing recovery and the employment/unemployment outlook is still negatively impacting affecting consumers and the amount of money that they spend on non essentials. Although, I think lower gas prices and energy prices in general bode well for the industry. The shopping season runs right up until Christmas Eve. It remains to be seen how retailers will make out fare.
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With e-commerce becoming increasingly prevalent, social shaking things up and brick-and-mortar-focused retailers stepping up their online game, 2017 will prove to be an interesting year for retail.